Government has launched the Revised National Policy on Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), 2022. With the policy, any Ugandan born in 2022 can ask for a sign language interpreter during job interviews.
The launch took place on Saturday at Kole district Headquarters as part of this year’s national celebration to commemorate the international PWD day held under the theme: “Leadership and Mindset Change, a Tool for Inclusive Development.”
During the launch, the audio- visual version of the PWD Act 2020, a public report addressing the myths and misconceptions on Albinism and the first copy of the Constitution of Uganda in Braille were also presented. With this, Uganda becomes the 13th Country in the world to have a braille version of the Constitution.
Mary Otieno, the country representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) explains that disability inclusion is an essential condition to upholding human rights, sustainable development and peace and security, and this is also central to the promise of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
According to her, the celebration should remind everyone of the need to be more purposeful and intentional in targeting and including persons with disability in their various programs, and particularly duty bearers to have a different mindset to empower PWDs for the inclusive Equitable, and sustainable development, envisage in the agenda 2040.
However, she is concerned that despite the progress made, a number of challenges remains unresolved.
H. E Jessica Alupo, the Vice President of Uganda who was the chief guest at the celebration, affirmed government’s support towards PWDs saying although a number of things has been done to support PWDs, the remaining challenges requires a lot of visioning and purpose leadership at a national level.
While taking note of the need to empower parents of children with disabilities, Alupo reiterated government’s commitment to subsidize on the cost of accessing surgeries and other services through disability grants upon a positive feasibility test.
However, Yona Wasswa, the chairperson of National Council for PWDs acknowledged that they have not been able to offer efficient and quality services to PWDs because of a number of challenges including limited training and deployment of sign language interpreters in the country and limited resources to mobilize persons with disabilities to participate in government programs.
But in her response, Hon. Betty Amongi, the Minister of Gender, Labor and Social Development says her ministry will ensure that sign language interpreters are trained and deployed at village levels so that everybody is included in the country’s development agenda.
However, some PWDs believes that with the implementation of legal tools, they will be able to actively participate in government programs and practice legal reforms.
The Uganda Bureau of Statistics Census Report 2016 indicated that 12.4 per cent of the Ugandan population lives with some form of disability, implying that approximately 4.5 million Ugandans are persons with disability hence a development concern.